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Georgia releases draft ESSA plan

State plan reflects ‘by Georgians, for Georgians’ process of stakeholder feedback and involvement


MEDIA CONTACTMeghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office,, 404-463-4246

-Follow GaDOE on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @GeorgiaDeptofEd. Follow the conversation around ESSA at #ESSAinGA.


June 15, 2017 – Georgia today released the draft of its state plan responsive to the Every Student Succeeds Act, the replacement for the federal law commonly known as No Child Left Behind.


The draft is being posted publicly to give all interested stakeholders time to review the plan and provide their feedback. The public-comment period will run for 30 days, closing on July 14, 2017.  


“I deeply appreciate the involvement of many of Georgia’s teachers, parents, school and district representatives, and community members in the ESSA public feedback process,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “I want to ask and encourage everyone who has already been involved to stay engaged with us as this work continues, and for anyone who has not yet been involved, I would ask you to be a part of the public review process moving forward. We can’t create a plan that serves students well unless we’re all working together.”


How to provide feedback


  1. Click here to read Georgia’s ESSA State Plan (Index here)
  2. Click the following links to access two-page overviews of key plan areas: Education of the Whole Child, Accountability, Assessment, Educator and Leader Development, Federal Programs to Support School Improvement
  3. Visit beginning June 27, 2017 for a video overview of the plan
  4. Click here to give your feedback
  5. Visit GaDOE.Org/signup to sign up for updates from GaDOE and stay up-to-date on the ESSA process.


Overview & moving forward

Broadly, Georgia’s draft ESSA plan supports a common framework of improvement that places the whole child at the center, focusing and organizing the work of the Department and engaging new partners in the school improvement process. It moves Georgia’s accountability system beyond a focus on test scores alone, allowing a more holistic view of district and school performance. It takes a more personalized approach to educational goals and accountability, establishes ambitious but attainable goals for groups of students, while rewarding schools that move students academically from one level to the next. The plan supports the alignment of tools, resources, initiatives, programs, and efforts so they work in a more effective and efficient way to ultimately impact the classroom.


Georgia plans to submit its draft ESSA plan to the U.S. Department of Education in September 2017. An in-depth timeline is available at


Background information on ESSA

The Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law in 2015, with bi-partisan support in Congress. ESSA grants states greater flexibility than its predecessor, No Child Left Behind, and entrusts them with the responsibility to develop their own state plans to support education. The statutory requirements of the law vary in specificity from issue to issue, with significant flexibility granted in some areas.


Last summer, the Georgia Department of Education convened groups of stakeholders – including classroom teachers, students, parents, school- and district-level leaders, higher-education representatives, business and industry, nonprofit and civic organizations, and communities – to guide the development of Georgia’s ESSA state plan.


Those groups relied directly on feedback from the public – gathered through eight public listening sessions held across the state, an in-depth survey, and social-media comment sessions – to shape Georgia’s ESSA plan. The GaDOE also maintained a dedicated email address for ESSA feedback and publicized it through website postings, social media, partnership with education and advocacy organizations, and through the in-person feedback sessions. This gave stakeholders an opportunity to provide open-ended feedback, engage in conversations, or request additional information. All feedback – through the in-person events, the survey, the email address and the social-media sessions – was collected, analyzed, and used to inform the development of Georgia’s state plan.


More information is available at Sign up to receive updates on the ESSA process at​.